In Gen 29: 14-35, there was a man named Laban who had two daughters namely Leah and Rachael. Leah had weak eyes (not sure what this means) and Rachael was lovely in form and beautiful. Laban had a nephew by the name Jacob, who was the son of his sister.
Jacob was one sly guy. I strongly think that in the current day and time, Jacob would still beat the polygraph and emerge out ‘clean’. Twice he deceived his brother Esau. First time he took his birthright in exchange of some red stew (really wonder what that stew was made off) and then took his blessings from Isaac his father in cohorts with his mother. Esau did not take this lightly and sought after him, in order to kill him (Sibling rivalry has been with us from the days of Adam, it seems.)
Jacob started working for Laban as a shepherd and he was asked to name his wages. His answer was simple and concise “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachael”. Now I wonder how many men would work for 7 straight years for a wife. If I was in the same position as Jacob, I would have negotiated for a much shorter period – a max of 1 year. Anyway a deal was hammered.
After seven years, Jacob went to his uncle and told him what a man having paid dowry should tell the father of the girl he wants to marry, “Give me my wife. My time is completed and I want to lie with her”. So he was given a girl and he lay with her. When morning came, he realized that he had been duped and instead of Rachael he had been given Leah (It was his turn to be duped). After complaining to Laban about the swap, he was later given Rachael but he had to work for another 7 years to complete the deal. Jacob loved Rachael more than Leah.
God opened the womb of Leah and she got children while Rachael was barren. Despite being the most lovely and fairer of them two and the most loved by Jacob, Rachael could not bear children for Jacob. At one time Rachael demanded children from Jacob or she would die (probably commit suicide). Jacob was not amused about this and answered her “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” This made me remember the story of Kevin* and Joan *(name changed to protect identity).
Kevin has been married to Joan for 8 years. At the time of marriage Kevin was 31 years and Joan was 27 years old. They went through premarital counseling and as is the case, the issue of children was discussed extensively. They both understood that children are a blessing from God and a marriage is complete even without children. Even with this understanding, they still trusted and believed God that He would bless them with a child at his time.
After getting married, they desired to stay for 6 months on family planning, after which they would now start seeking to get a baby. After 6 months they stopped using the Family planning and they would make love often to increase their chances of conception. Having shared with their best couple and fellow friends in church, they both knew that conception may not happen in the first month. After 6 months, anxiety started building up and after a year of trying they decided to ask the opinion of one of their close friends. The close friend intimated that for them it took one and a half years of trying, before being successful. This gave them a bit of comfort.
Kevin and Joan trusted God that He will bless them with a child and four years went by and still no conception had happened. They decided to consult a doctor. After a round of tests for both, the lady was declared to be okay and the ‘problem’ was with gentleman. The doctor told Kevin that he had a low sperm count and hence that is why conception has not been possible. Kevin was shattered by this news. He felt he was not man enough. His ego as a man was greatly bruised. Though his wife encouraged him and stood by him, he was totally devastated. The doctor encouraged the young man and informed him that they could still use In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) as an option in addition to adopting. The cost was given as Ksh. 350k.
In 2008, Kevin managed to secure a loan Ksh. 300k from his Sacco plus some savings that they had made and they went for the IVF procedure. Kevin felt that the IVF was a big blow for his manhood. He wondered why his peers did not struggle to get babies and actually he knew some who had procured even abortions. That hurt him so much and he was bitter with God. As fate would have it the procedure was not successful and Kevin was not only 350k poorer but he still had a Sacco loan to repay.
Kevin’s wife has been the strongest pillar their marriage he tells me. Were it not for his wife, he would have quit the marriage and asked her to look for a man who can give her a baby. He felt like he was giving her a raw deal. Joan however stuck with her man. She had taken vows ‘for better or for worse’ and they were still valid till death separates them. In 2010, having cleared the previous Sacco loan and encouraged by their friends, Joan and Kevin decided to give the IVF one more try. They prayed, trusted God and had friends standing with them in prayer. Unfortunately again, it was not successful. That was huge blow to this couple.
I met Kevin early in the year for coffee and to catch up. It was so hard for me to even propose this meeting. I had never been in his position and I cannot claim that I understood his predicament. I felt like there was nothing I could say that could make a difference. For me broaching the subject of children is one hard challenge I had to overcome. This couple has been through a lot. The years are progressing and everyone is getting impatient. He tells me that in the office, people speak in hushed tones about his predicament. The words used to describe his predicament are too painful to be repeated on this blog. Some ladies at his work place have even been overheard saying that Kevin is ‘safe’ to be with. Some colleagues of the wife had even suggested to Joan to consider ‘mpango wa kado’, get pregnant and boost the morale of her man, which she flatly refused.
Kevin’s wish and prayer to God is one, “Lord, Bless me with a Child”. When I heard those words, it left me thinking of how I may have taken for granted that I have children. How I may have taken lightly the joy of parenting and fatherhood in particular that Kevin was wishing he could have . Here was a man who the society viewed as incomplete because he did not have a child. He concluded his story with the following words.
“Njoro thanks for your time and for the coffee. I know you feel like you have done nothing, but trust me your words have really encouraged me. My wife has been very supportive of me and I am eternally grateful to her. She has remained true to the vows we made back in 2003. I want to be a father. I want to get home and find books; crayons strew all over as my kids jump from one chair to another in laughter. I Love my wife so much and I want her to be a mother; she has been so supportive that I feel guilty of bringing her into this predicament,especially knowing that the problem lies in me. I know I appear strong on the outside, but inside am a distraught man. Every time I meet a six or seven-year old kid, I imagined that my son or daughter would probably be of the same height. Bro, this is no easy for me and my wife. My Prayer still remains, Lord bless me with a child”. With those words we parted ways.
Those words are still fresh now as they were about 6 months ago. I pray that God will answer this prayer I am making for Kevin and Joan and other couples out there who have been yearning for the gift of a child.
“Dear Lord, I thank you because when I pray to you, you listen to my prayers. I pray for Kevin and Joan who have remained true and faithful to you, before and even after marriage. They have spent a fortune, seeking for that gift which you give freely to all men. I pray that you give them this gift of children and this will be a testimony to all, that nothing is impossible with you.
I pray for others probably including the reader(s) of this article, who may be facing a similar predicament. Here is a man or woman lord, who is in deep agony because she cannot have children. The society as a whole have been unfriendly to them. Lord I pray that you may comfort them .I pray for healing of every condition that has inhibited the realization of this amazing gift from your Lord. The medical doctors may have given up, but you ooh Lord are our creator. We cannot give up when we have you on our side. You know us in and out and you know what ails us and what ails our bodies. Lord, bless them with children according to your riches in glory and for the glory and honor of your name.
For it’s in the name of Jesus, I pray these and believe.